CNM Updates New Student Orientation Process

May 14, 2014 -- Beginning with the 2014 Fall Term, CNM is changing its New Student Orientation to offer in-person orientations instead of the online orientation that’s been available the past few years.
CNM Updates New Student Orientation Process

Jul 17, 2015


New students are encouraged to attend this in-person orientation, and it is a requirement to get the Bridge to Success Scholarship. 

“We want students to enjoy the process of becoming college students, and we want to help them celebrate their decision to come to CNM. Our new student orientation gets them ready for a positive college experience and it puts them on a successful path to graduation,” said Vice President of Student Services Phillip Bustos. “In-person orientation helps students get more excited about college, and it helps them make connections with faculty and staff before their first day of class. In-person orientation is a best practice that will help us retain students and help them embark on a successful journey to graduation.”

Katy Boyles, New Student Orientation manager, said that studies show that participation in in-person orientation increases retention rates.

She noted that in 2012, CNM did a pilot study with 200 students participating in an in-person new student orientation. CNM officials followed the retention records and grades of the 200 students and compared them to those who did not take the in-person orientation. They discovered that the spring semester retention rate for students who took the in-person orientation before the fall term was 77 percent compared to 66.4 percent for those who took it online.

Kelley Peters and Joshua Krause, Presidential Fellows for curriculum, are developing the curriculum for the new student orientations, basing it on what they learned from a series of focus groups with high school seniors, current CNM students, staff and faculty.

“The focus groups showed that the new students want to talk to current students and want to go on campus tours to get the lay of the land,” Boyles said.

A total of 14 student orientations are planned between June 6 and Aug. 5 at Main, Montoya, South Valley, Rio Rancho and Westside campuses. Some 4,560 new students can be accommodated in the sessions.

Twenty current CNM students will serve as orientation leaders and are being selected to serve as guides for the orientation sessions. The orientation leaders, who will earn scholarships for their work, will give small groups of new students tours of the campus and share their CNM student experiences. That will be followed by a larger session where the students will watch a video, “Top 10 Habits of Successful Students,” narrated and developed by English instructor Carson Bennett. They’ll also hear from other faculty members, in a style reminiscent of TED-X video presentations, discussing some of the interesting topics they might learn in college.

Some 200 students have already signed up for the orientation sessions and many more are expected as summer approaches. The complete schedule and details can be found at

“We want to get students thinking about how different college is from high school and to have them see that college can be a lot of fun,” Boyles said.